Updated March 26, 2020

Congress has passed the Phase 3 Stimulus Bill, which is unprecedented in recent years in terms of the dollars to be expended and the scope of the legislation. The following are a few key provisions of the bill that are relevant to healthcare providers.

All Healthcare Providers:

  • Elimination of the 2% “Sequestration” reduction on Medicare claims from May 1, 2020, through the end of the calendar year
  • Increased flexibility for telehealth services, including billing
  • All health plans must cover COVID-19 testing without copays or other patient costs
  • Limitation on liability for volunteer healthcare providers
  • Changes to HIPAA regulations for disclosure of patient protected information

Hospitals:

  • Increase in the DRG weighting factor of +15% for any primary or secondary diagnosis of COVID-19
  • Relaxation of the rules governing home and community-based care

Durable Medical Equipment:

  • Rural areas. Existing laws remain in effect, namely:
    • For items and services furnished in rural areas and non-contiguous areas (Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories) with dates of service from June 1, 2018, through December 31, 2020, based on the fee schedule amount for the area, the reimbursement is equal to 50 percent of the adjusted payment amount established under this section and 50 percent of the unadjusted fee schedule amount.
  • Non-rural areas. The above is changed to 75% of the adjusted payment amount and 25% of the unadjusted fee schedule amount. This reimbursement is for dates of service from March 6, 2020, forward.

Federally Qualified Health Centers/Rural Health Clinics/Health Centers:

  • Payments authorized for telehealth visits (with a special payment rule to follow)
  • Appropriation of $1.3 billion in supplemental awards for COVID-19 testing and treatment

Home Health Agencies:

  • Temporary relaxation of the rules regarding the level of provider servicing the patient

We are working to provide regular legislative updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and how they impact healthcare entities. Please check CRIcpa.com for additional updates that may impact your organization.